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Swarm of Police in Riot Gear Destroy Peaceful Pro-Palestine Encampment At UCLA During Early Morning Raid, Over 200 Arrested

At 4 AM, CHP broke through the fencing on the other side of the encampment and set up a police line, consistently firing flash-bang grenades into the air. They also fired on protestors with “less-lethal” munitions and rubber bullets, causing an injury to one protester’s face that required stitches. 

Last night, a swarm of officers from UCPD (UCLA Police Department), CHP, LASD, and LAPD swarmed the campus of UCLA, destroying the encampment that had been built by pro-peace protesters over the past week. These combined forces arrested and booked over 200 people. 

Earlier in the day, Pro-Palestinian students held a rally down the stairs from the encampment, decrying how the university responded to a Tuesday evening assault by Pro-Israel counterprotesters - that has still resulted in no arrests - and calling for the university to disclose and divest from its interests in Israeli companies and companies supporting the war on Gaza. They were supported by UCLA faculty and labor union UAW Local 4811, who have called for a strike authorization vote - meaning that the union of academic workers at the UC system will be voting whether to go on strike based on what they see as the university violating the rights of their workers. 

The UC police called for a dispersal order within the encampment after 6 PM, telling everyone present that they could face arrest or serious injury if they remained in Dickson Plaza. Protestors responded by reinforcing barricades, sharing resources like helmets, goggles, food, and water, as well as hand warmers with each other. There was a prayer session, as well as “quiet hours” after 11 PM, in order for protestors to get some rest. The camp was filled with Pro-Palestinian artwork and messages of solidarity.

Photo by Jonathan Peltz for L.A. TACO.
Photo by Jonathan Peltz for L.A. TACO.

After 1 AM, LAPD found a way into the encampment and aimed “less-lethal” munitions at protesters, but were initially surrounded by protesters on both sides and forced to retreat. 

At 4 AM, CHP broke through the fencing on the other side of the encampment and set up a police line, consistently firing flash-bang grenades into the air. They also fired on protestors with “less-lethal” munitions and rubber bullets, causing an injury to one protester’s face that required stitches. 

One reporter noted that he saw a protester being carried out covered in blood. According to Students for Justice in Palestine, five students were shot in the head with rubber bullets. 

Photo by Jonathan Peltz for L.A. TACO.
Photo by Jonathan Peltz for L.A. TACO.
Photo by Jonathan Peltz for L.A. TACO.

Many protesters left the encampment, and some retreated to form a new line by the Janss stairs. At that point, the encampment was surrounded by policing agencies. We observed one protester yelling at an officer, calling them a “fascist” and questioning why they would cause harm to protestors. The officer aimed a weapon at them. 

Protesters were pushed back by police who periodically pulled people out of the line to arrest them. Eventually, they were condensed and surrounded in front of Powell Library, where the remaining 40 or so were aggressively pulled apart and arrested. The remaining protesters egressed with barricades from their position. 

A small group of protesters went to “de-arrest” people detained on an LASD bus but failed as they were dispersed by LASD deputies. 

The Los Angeles Public Defenders’ Union has called on the District Attorney and City Attorney to drop all charges, saying they would represent everyone charged at the protest. Yesterday, another encampment was formed at Cal State LA. 
Today, students have reportedly occupied Cal State Long Beach and Chapman University. Student encampments and protests keep forming, even in the midst of the crackdowns organized by their schools’ own administrations.

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